Dictionary

Borage Greens

Borage Greens belong to the Boraginaceae family of the genus ‘Borag’ and is scientifically called Borago officinalis. It has several names such as Starflower, Bee Plant, Beebread, Borago, Burrage and so on. The plant is a native of Mediterranean but it is cultivated throughout the world for its medicinal use.

Borage is a self-seeding plant with a striking blue flower. It grows in rich soil with ample sunlight. This garden herb has a cucumber-like aroma which is used in salads and soups. The leaves must be used while they are tender. Once the flowers bloom, the leaves start to taste bitter. The flowers have a sweet honey-like flavour and can be used in salad, summer drinks and as cake decoration.

The Borage seed oil has a lot of medicinal benefits and hence, commercially cultivated. It contains Omega-6 essential fatty acids with almost 30% concentration of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). GLA is used by the body to produce prostaglandins that are required to treat hormone-related problems. Borage seed oil is also used in treating rheumatoid arthritis, eczema, neurodermatitis-a type of skin condition, dermatitis, as well as lowering the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. It is also used to treat swelling of gums, asthma, alcoholism and inflammation.

The flowers, stems and leaves of borage are edible and have much use in the kitchen. The leaves have a mild cucumber taste. Young leaves can be eaten raw in salads, chopped into cream cheese or yoghurt, added to stocks, soups and stews and used in place of lettuce in sandwiches.

With a taste comparable to that of cucumber, borage has various culinary applications. The leaves can, of course, be used as a salad green and the flowers as edible decorations, but to stop there would be an insult to the wide variety of uses for borage. This herb can be used in soups, salads, borage-lemonade, strawberry-borage cocktails, preserves, borage jelly, various sauces, cooked as a stand-alone vegetable.

Vegetable use of borage is commonly used in European cuisine. In Germany, in the Spanish regions of Aragon and Navarre, in the Greek island of Crete and in the northern Italian region of Liguria. Although often used in soups, one of the better known German borage recipes is the Green Sauce (Grüne Soße) made in Frankfurt. In Italian Liguria, borage is commonly used as a filling of the traditional pasta ravioli and pansoti. It is used to flavour pickled gherkins in Poland.